Your Name: Hannah Massey
Current Location: Northwest Suburbs of Chicago, IL
Name of Project: SEEDS
Nine to 5: I work at Anthropologie & teach an art draw class for a homeschool co-op
Websites: ETSY INSTAGRAM FACEBOOK
Tell us a little about your creative project, SEEDS, and how you got started with it:
SEEDS is an overflow of a lifelong creative process for me. It is a platform to be able to share my creative process with others.
I have been selling my art since I was younger, my father was a world-renowned artist, and fortunately I was able to learn a lot from him. Some of my most fond memories growing up were watching my dad create in our garage, which was his studio.
Coming from a family of 8 children with an artist father, and mother who wrote poetry, you can imagine a lot of creating was happening around me.
Every year my family would put on an open house and sell our work. That was probably the beginning for me. That is when I got more serious about doing commissions, paintings, wood-carvings, etc., and began selling my art.
Where does the name SEEDS come from, and how does it represent what you do?
SEEDS comes from this idea that, through my art, I hope to sprinkle these “seeds” in which I have been given by the Lord to inspire, bring hope, empower and encourage others, and share my heart.
There are a lot of different creative outlets I have, so it is kind of an all encompassing platform for them to be in one place, whether it is my paintings, jewelry, photography, wood-carving, etc.
Share a bit of your creative process with us:
I think it is an ever-changing ebb and flow just as the seasons. For me, it is not always this rigid thing. It can be extremely messy and uncomfortable. For me, creating has been a means of healing, and navigating through a vast array of seasons being it seasons of joy, sorrow, confusion, excitement, or uncertainty.
Ever since I was little I can remember doodling, painting, or writing as a means of processing. Not that I really knew what I was actually doing. For me, the most sacred and raw creative process was in my grieving. After losing my brother, and just shortly after that losing my father, art was such a tool to process what my heart and mind were trying to express. I think it was interesting that I didn’t really have to speak, but my heart was speaking for me.
My dad and I once had a conversation about this very topic, and my dad said something that has stuck with me to this day. He said, “Art is not just the finished product, but more so the process and the journey it took the person through in the making.” I don’t believe you need to have your work hanging on the walls of a museum or a gallery to be called an artist. Art is more the colorful unraveling of process with soul, mind, and heart.
What's the hardest part about being a working artist?
There are always ideas swirling around, yet it feels like there’s never enough time to do them all. I think there is this persona that since you are really passionate about something that it is always easy to get into it but I have found that it can take a lot of work just like anything else and it can take truly pressing into it even when you are facing a block or aren’t inspired.
There are definitely seasons where I am doing a lot more art and creative things and there are times where my time is taken by other things. I think there’s a balance of giving yourself grace yet putting in the time. I can go months without even touching a paintbrush and times where I am creating everyday.
How do you stay motivated and inspired with your work?
I think there’s this untapped territory with the Lord in our art, whether it's visual art, music, writing, whatever it may be, but something we need to push through is what our flesh is speaking-- “I’m too tired”, “I don't have time”, “I’m not good enough”, “I’m just going to end up getting frustrated if it doesn’t come out perfect”. Pushing through those things can be as simple as getting out a paper and pen, beginning to mix paint colors, setting up your easel, whatever it may be. There has been many times where I’ll go days and just stare at my easel or blank canvas, or the piano and just get this sinking feeling that I should probably start the process over again and start creating something new because I know there is so much peace and joy through the process of creating, finding, discovering new things.
Sometimes our art is for someone else, maybe for encouragement or hope. There have been times when people were going through something or they were put on my heart for some reason. When I haven’t had words or felt my words were necessary all I could offer was my art to them. It is really easy to be selfish with our art, because well it’s ours and its scary and humbling to release it into the world but sometimes it’s just what people need. It can be such a beautiful tool of healing, encouragement or hope.
I think it is also important to not just create with the intention to always have it be seen or heard. As I was reflecting on this, I was reminded of this certain flower that blooms only once a year at night. It is called the night blooming cereus and is found mostly in Mexico and Southern Arizona. It’s a strange plant that blooms only for a single day in a year, between June and July. The beautiful, white flowers only open at night. The pleasant smell of these flowers last till the morning. The next morning after blooming the night blooming cereus flowers closes forever. For me, there are many pieces of art I have done that with. They are pieces that I have no real need or intention of showing to anyone, because it might have just been a moment I had. Like a moment of worship with the Lord or simply expressing myself and needing to let it out.
There are over a hundred songs, lyrics or melodies that are on my phone or hiding in journals not because I didn’t want to release them but because they may have been purely for release of my creativity or so I could come back on them someday. Just because they aren’t publicly known, doesn’t mean they do not exist.
Some practical things I find work well for me are having some type of goal, task, or time limit in mind. It sounds kind of funny for an artist, but I prefer a clean workspace, it’s honestly hard for me to create when it’s a mess. The art/process itself being messy, I am okay with. I have found myself about to work, and then I can’t concentrate because I need to clean and organize everything first.
Also, I think there is a balance of being inspired by others but not looking to others for how you should create/take from their unique process. What you bring to the table is important. No one else can create with your unique and specific DNA.
Can you share how you get by financially as a working artist?
I do wear a few different hats in terms of work. I work at Anthropologie as well as teaching an Art-Draw class for kids. My husband and I also play/sing for weddings and some other events. We also play shows with our band Flocks and the Lookout, mostly around the Chicago area.
What other passions of yours do you pursue with your time?
I have always been a processor through writing, so that is a huge passion of mine. I enjoy writing thoughts, poems, songs, etc. My Husband and I love playing and writing music. We are in a band called Flocks and the Lookout, in which we are slowly in the process of recording our second album. We have a heart for people and worship and serve consistently at our church that we love.
I really enjoy cooking and healthy living. I am an advocate for holistic living.
Also, I am currently in my third trimester with our first little chickadee Indigo Heritage and cannot wait to be a Momma Bird. She is due April 27th, and I am sure that motherhood will unravel even more depths to my heart and new passions and hobbies.
So, dream BIG here, what are your hopes for the future?
My husband and I have a dream of opening a coffee shop in which really cultivates creativity and community. That is a whole other interview itself though : )
Our desire as a family is to really empower others to create in their unique way, and for them to feel the love of God through art, music, hospitality and community.
CURATED BY: KATIE SIMKINS